Monday, December 13, 2021

Ronda - Spain

Ronda is one of the spanish places on my must visit list. 
The city is one the oldest spanish cities and the 3rd most visited destination in southern Spain.

 © Ediciones A. M.
This town in the Málaga region sits on either side of the Tajo del Ronda, a narrow gorge more than 150 metres deep. Its old town has been declared Property of Cultural Interest. Celts, Phoenicians, Romans and Arabs all inhabited these lands, which were reconquered by the Catholic Monarchs.

 The historic quarter, reminiscent of the Arab age and with a medieval layout is scattered to the south of the Guadalevín, while more modern Ronda, the part which sprang up after the 16th century, unfolds to the north of the course of this river.
FI-4051915, sent by Reili.
Several bridges unite the two halves of one of the most interesting towns on the route of the Whitewashed Villages, in the heart of the the Ronda hills, only a few kilometres from the Costa del Sol. - in:
 Fotografia: A. Murillo

Ronda's extensive walls, were begun by its Moorish rulers in the 13th century, renovated in the 16th by the Christians. The earlier walls were built to keep out, and parts are still being rebuilt in the 21st century. Originally, this feat of medieval engineering wrapped the entire city, and must have made it one of the most securely defended settlements of its time. Even today, with the outer walls fallen (especially to the south, near the Arab baths), only two paths, two gates and one bridge offer routes out of the fortress city. The southerly battlements are large enough to host outdoor summer concerts, and the most impressive section, the westerly puerta del Almocábar, was only reconstructed in its original form in the late 20th century. The Hispanicized name is taken from the Arabic al-Maqabir, cemetery, the function originally served by what today is a leafy square. - in:

© Ediciones A. M. Studio Editores S. L.
The Puente Nuevo is the newest and largest of three bridges that span the 120-metre (390 ft)-deep chasm that carries the Guadalevín River and divides the city of Ronda. 
The bridge was started in 1751 and took 42 years to build. Fifty workers were killed during its construction. There is a chamber beneath the central arch that was used for a variety of purposes, including as a prison. During the 1936-1939 civil war both sides allegedly used the prison as a torture chamber for captured opponents, killing some by throwing them from the windows to the rocks at the bottom of the El Tajo gorge. - in: wikipedia
That chamber is now an Interpretation Center about the bridgege and the different aspects of its environment: vegetation, geology, urbanism, history, etc.

Ameira do Tejo Castle - Portugal

I've visited Amieira do Tejo in 2013 and in this case my memory is not failling me and I still remember this visit. I even remember that the post office in from of the castle was selling cards for the incredible price of only 0.10€. That's something hard to forget. 
The 1st of these cards was sent by me and the other one was sent by Rui and Carla to wish me happy holidays.
Photo by Manuel Ribeiro
In 1232, owing to a regal charter issued by King Sancho II, the dominion of the Knights Hospitaler expanded their influence into the south; The construction of the castle in Amieira only developed a century after the Hospitalers had taken possession of the territory.
Its construction was the responsibility of Álvaro Gonçalves Pereira, son of the Archbishop of Braga Gonçalo Pereira, prior of the Order of the Hospital. The castle of Amieira was constructed as part of the settlement's place in the new function of the Order: to assist the travelling pilgrims. 
Photo by Manuel Ribeiro
The fortress suffered various modifications over the centuries. During the reigns of King John II and King Manuel, there were remodelling to adapt the structure to the new military requirements. Simultaneously, it served as a prison, due to its excellent construction. Losing its military function, due to the change in the lines of defence over time, the castle fell in importance. In the 18th century, a great part of the historical structure was abandoned, and part of the fortress was adapted for civil residences. By this time, the prison tower was partially recuperated, but its military functionally was completed abandoned.
In the 19th century, the central courtyard was converted into a local cemetery, which continued to be used in this form until the 1940s. It has been listed as a National monument since 10 November 1922. - in: wikipedia

Vila Viçosa Castle - Portugal

I've been to Vila Viçosa a few years ago and visited its castle but for some reason, maybe the castle didn't impress me much, I only remember this gate. 
Unfortunately I didn't make it to the Christmas meeting held in the town last month, it would had been a great oportunity to create neu memories of this place. 
The card was sent by Vitória.

Unlike many fortifications across the country, located on top of steep slopes or high hills, having a relatively low-lying castle brings several advantages, both in terms of accessibility for everyone and its proximity to the historic centre. That's the case of this castle.
  Built in 1297 by order and desire of King Dinis, Vila Viçosa Castle is flanked by pine and olive trees, facilitating outdoor walks between the walls that were restored in the 1930s and 1950s. When walking there it is possible to appreciate its multiplicity of influences and styles, with Gothic, Manueline and Baroque elements.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Adufes from Idanha-a-Nova - Portugal

To wish me an happy birthday, Gracinha sent me this card with traditional music group from Idanha-a-Nova. They play adufe, one of the best known traditional Portuguese percussion instruments.

 Its peculiar format requires a percussion technique that relies more on tapping fingers and dry hand strokes, not requiring the use of drumsticks. Inside, there are seeds or floorboards that offer an extra richness of sand to the sound of this instrument. It is thought that this instrument was introduced by Arabs in the 11th and 12th centuries.
In traditional Portuguese music, the adufe is often used to accompany traditional songs from the interior of the country, more particularly in the Beira Interior region.
Mainly played by women, the adufe is an instrument that contains a mythology and iconography associated with the ideas of fertility and marriage (...). - in:

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Monthly Fav. Surprise RR * November '21

All the 4 MFS November cards reached my mailbox but I'm still missing one from the previous month, that's why I haven't post yet October's cards. 
November is an autumn month but almost all these cards bring some summer vibes.

Photo: Enrico Spanu
Elisabetta lives in Sardinia, an italian island known for the white sandy beaches. Porto Giunco is one of the most famous, beautiful beaches in the southwestern part of the island.

Photo by Larry Stover
Distinctive for its black and white diamond pattern, the Cape Lookout Lighthouse is the southernmost lighthouse that guards the Outer Banks, and is easily one of the most visited attractions on the refreshingly desolate Cape Lookout National Seashore.
The current lighthouse was built in the late 1850s, and is the second lighthouse to stand at this isolated spot along the National Seashore.
Though it officially went into operation in 1859, it wasn’t painted its distinctive diamond pattern until 1873, which distinguished it from other lighthouses along the Outer Banks. - in:
Card sent by Pixie. 
Czech Republic, where Ksenia sent this card from, is a landlocked country and I don't think there are any lighthouses there. Well, not sure about that but I do know that this lighthouse is definitely located somewhere else. It wasn't easy to find out exactly where but after browsing a few web pages I finally came to the conclusion that this is Pigeon Point Lighthouse in USA.
Perched on a cliff on the central California coast, 50 miles south of San Francisco, the 115-foot Pigeon Point Lighthouse, one of the tallest lighthouses in America, has been guiding mariners since 1872. - in:
Photo: Rodeo Oy
Founded in 1475, Olavinlinna Castle (St. Olaf’s Castle) was built by Swedes on a small rocky island on the biggest lake in Finland, lake Saimaa. Originally the castle had five towers, of which there are three remaining. In 1743 it was occupied by Russia, and the upper brownstone sections of the towers were extended under their rule. The castle has been restored numerous times since the end of the 19th century, and is now one of Finland’s most popular tourist attractions. Although many different events are held here, Olavinlinna Castle is most famous for hosting the world-renowned Savonlinna Opera Festival which takes place annually in July. It is open all year, and the entrance fee includes a guided tour. There are two museums on the grounds, the Orthodox museum which displays icons and religious artefacts from Finland and Russia, and the Castle museum which displays objects found in the Olavinlinna. - in:
Card sent by Leena.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021


Broadway is one of New York’s most famous avenues, known as the heart of the American theatre industry.
The avenue is also famous for being the only street that runs through Manhattan at an oblique angle. It runs from the City Hall to the Bronx.

US-7982154, sent by Virginia.
Broadway’s most important attraction is Times Square, which cuts 7th Avenue. Times Square’s surroundings provide the most important leisure and cultural offerings, with nearly 40 theatres.
Some of the Avenue’s most successful musicals include The Lion King, Wicked, Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera, Chicago and Aladdin. - in:

Monday, November 29, 2021

Ogasawara Islands - Japan

The Ogasawara Islands are a chain of volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean, about 1000 kilometers south and administratively part of Tokyo. The islands were added to UNESCO's list of World Natural Heritage sites in July 2011. 
Kenji sent me the 1st card and the 2nd is my received official card #1700.

 Photo by Katsuyuki Sugimori
The property numbers more than 30 islands clustered in three groups and covers surface area of 7,939 hectares. The islands offer a variety of landscapes and are home to a wealth of fauna, including the Bonin Flying Fox, a critically endangered bat, and 195 endangered bird species. Four-hundred and forty-one native plant taxa have been documented on the islands whose waters support numerous species of fish, cetaceans and corals. 
JP-1612009, sent by Yusake.
Ogasawara Islands' ecosystems reflect a range of evolutionary processes illustrated through its assemblage of plant species from both southeast and northwest Asia, alongside many endemic species. - in:

Kyoto Imperial Palace - Japan

Officials from Kyoto with the Imperial Palace. 

JP-1577610, sent by Mai.
The Kyoto Imperial Palace used to be the residence of Japan's Imperial Family until 1868, when the emperor and capital were moved from Kyoto to Tokyo. It is located in the spacious Kyoto Imperial Park, an attractive park in the center of the city.

JP-1278958, sent by Yoshimi.
The current Imperial Palace was reconstructed in 1855 after it had burnt down and moved around town repeatedly over the centuries. The complex is enclosed by long walls and consists of several gates, halls and gardens. - in:
JP-1611765, sent by Karin.
The Shishinden is the most important ceremonial building within the palace grounds. The enthronement ceremonies of Emperor Taisho and Emperor Showa took place here. The hall is 33 by 23 metres (108 by 75 ft) in size, and features a traditional architectural style, with a gabled and hipped roof. On either side of its main stairway were planted trees which would become very famous and sacred, a cherry (sakura) on the eastern, left side, and a tachibana orange tree on the right to the west. The garden of white gravel played an important role in the ceremony. - in: wikipedia


Getting an official card from India is almost a rarity. The last one was received in 2008 and this is only my 6th official from there.

Photo:Rahul Thachilath
IN-446112, sent by Skanda.
At the end of the Indo-Pak war of 1947, Turtuk came under the control of Pakistan. In 1999, the two countries once again had a major conflict around this area during the Kargil War and Turtuk was recaptured by Indian forces. 
Geographically, Turtuk lies in the Baltistan region and is one among four such villages in India, the other three being Tyakshi, Chalunkha and Thang. 
The residents of Turtuk and its adjoining villages speak Balti language alongside Ladakhi and Urdu.
The village is in the Shyok Valley. It used to be on the Silk Route with regular trade caravans passing by, shepherded by Baltis. 
Turtuk is famous for the availability of different varieties of fruits, especially apricots. 

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Erwang Temple - China

Erwang Temple is a historical site built to commemorate Li Bing and his son, who made remarkable contributions to the construction of world-famous Dujiangyan Irrigation System, a UNESCO site since 2000. Located on a mountain on the right bank of the Minjiang River, this temple is an integral part of Dujiangyan's cultural heritage.

The architecture of the temple is heavily influenced by the style of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), with the whole temple complex environment designed to preserve a sense of beauty and quiet serenity. Engraved on the walls of the temple are many Chinese characters commemorating the experiences of learning to master water-control techniques, with those segments written by Li Bing among the most valuable. Further on in the Grand Hall are impressive statues of Li and his son, which are visited by locals regularly to convey their respects.
The local people here have held memorial ceremonies for Li and his son for 2,200 years. Burning a stick of incense is the most common way visitors show their admiration and respect for the two immortalized heroes, and hence, one encounters the striking smell of incense from the moment you step into the temple. More recently, the main organized activities at Erwang Temple include the Temple Fair, held from June 24th to June 26th, according to the Chinese lunar calendar, and the Releasing Water Festival on Tomb Sweeping Day. - in:

Lijiang Old Town - China

Lijiang Old Town, also called Dayan Old Town, is a well-preserved ancient town for Naxi ethnic group. Old Town of Lijiang was listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997, including Dayan Old Town, Shuhe Old Town and Baisha Old Town. It is one of the four best-preserved ancient cities in China, along with Langzhong Ancient Town in Sichuan, Pingyao Ancient City in Shanxi and Shexian Ancient Town in Anhui Province.

Lijiang Old Town was first built in the late Song Dynasty and early Yuan Dynasty, with a history of more than 800 years. From the beginning to the reign of Yongzheng in Qing Dynasty, Lijiang Old Town was under the rule of Mu Family, local commanders during that time in Lijiang. 
The architecture in the whole town is a little different than most parts of China as it reflects the local Naxi style.
Lijiang Old Town features wide cobbled streets ambling over stone bridges and waterwheel-driven canals.
CN-3218462m sent by Qiq.
Wangu Tower is located on the top of Lion Hill and belongs to the back hill of Mu’s Residence. The tower itself is at 33-meter high and has five floors. Standing on the top the tower, you can have panoramic view of the whole Lijiang Old Town and rivers to the east, the new town of Lijiang to the west and the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain range to the north and Naxi villages and farmland to the south. - in:

Nanjing - China

Tonight I'll take you on a journey to China. The first stop is  Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu Province, is one of the most delightful destinations in China. 
The st of these cards is an official received in 2010 and the other two are from a swap with Tianhui in 2012.

CN-178546, sent by Peter.
Nanjing has a prominent place in Chinese history and culture, having been the capital of China on several occasions.
Nanjing is one of the most beautiful cities of mainland China with lush green parks, natural scenic lakes, small mountains, historical buildings & monuments, relics and much more, which attracts thousands of tourists every year.
The City Wall of Nanjing was designed by Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang (r. 1368–1398) after he founded the Ming Dynasty(1368–1644) and established Nanjing as the capital 600 years ago. To consolidate his sovereignty and keep out invaders, he adopted the suggestions of advisor Zhu Sheng to build a higher city wall, to collect grains and to postpone the coronation. Then, he started to build the city wall. It took 21 years to complete, and used 200,000 laborers to move 7 million cubic metres of earth. The City Wall of Nanjing was among the largest city walls ever constructed in China, and today it remains in good condition and has been well preserved. - in: wikipedia

Photo by Liu Ning
Xuanwu Lake is a lake in the central-northeast part of Nanjing, Jiangsu, China, near Nanjing Railway Station and Ji Ming Temple. The Ming city wall borders the park to its south and east and there is a notable pagoda and the Zifeng Tower overlooking the lake.
The lake covers 444 hectares and is 15 kilometers in circumference. According to the local legend, a black dragon was seen in the lake and was believed by Chinese Taoists to be a god of water protection called Xuanwu which gave it its name. - in: wikipedia

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Po Lin Monastery - Hong Kong

Po Lin Monastery is the most important Buddhist monastery in Hong Kong. It is located in Ngong Ping, the highest part of Lantau Island.
 Photographer: Jacky Yeung
HK-757667, sent by Katie.
The monastery was founded in 1906 by three monks visiting from Jiangsu Province on the Chinese mainland and was initially known simply as "The Big Hut" (大茅蓬 Tai Mao Pung). It was renamed to its present name in 1924. The main temple houses three bronze statues of the Buddha – representing his past, present and future lives – as well as many Buddhist scriptures. - in: wikipedia
The monastery grounds include the temple, the monks' houses, a vegetarian restaurant and several shops to buy incense. Next to the shops you will find incense burners of different shapes and sizes where the faithful and tourists leave their newly purchased offerings.

Completed in December 1993, the Tian Tan Buddha is one of the largest seated Buddha statues in the world. The enormous sculpture is made of 202 bronze pieces and sits upon on a three-storey platform.
An extension of the Po Lin Monastery, the Tian Tan Buddha symbolises the union of man and nature. The Buddha is sat atop a lotus flower and surrounded by six smaller statues of gods offering flowers, incense, lamp, ointment, fruit and music as symbols of the gifts necessary for enlightenment.
To reach the statue, visitors have to climb 268 steps up to the top, where they'll be rewarded with magnificent views from this privileged vantage point on Lantau Island. - in: